December 19, 1993

The Pelican Brief

I just saw this on cable again in 2011. (Apparently there's a channel called ION?) Still holds up for action and suspense, although it's a period piece now: the whole movie is landlines, computers with no internet access, and news stories which need to be "confirmed" before they're made public. If Darby Shaw (Roberts) had written the Pelican Brief in 2011, it would have been on WikiLeaks in a day or two, if Shaw didn't Tweet it herself.
Vests and Denim shirts for everyone!
In 2011, all the conversations we see on land lines, held in hushed hotel rooms and offices would have taken place on iPhones while striding symbolically past the Washington Monument. If you can look past this distraction, and the laugh-out-loud 1990s clothing --everyone wore oversized denim shirts + mom jeans in 1994-- then there's a solid old-school thriller to be enjoyed, directed with craft and flair by Alan J Pakula (All The President's Men, Parallax View, Presumed Innocent)

It's hard to watch on TV at home, because all Julia Roberts does for two hours is whisper her way through the whole thing. Once her creepy alcoholic professor boyfriend (Sam Shepard) gets blown up, I swear she doesn't raise her voice again for the whole movie. She finally turns on the Julia Smile in the very last scene. Denzel Washington is terrific, or, as my wife pointed out, "better than this movie deserves!"

The Pelican Brief is full of stone cold villains, cynical politicians, and attorneys too. The casting director assembled a feast of douchebaggery which may never be equaled: click through and see if any of these faces look slimy and familiar: Tony Goldwyn, James Sikking, William Atherton, Anthony Heald, Robert Culp, Stanley Anderson, John Finn, and, in a near-silent cameo as an assassin, Stanley Tucci With A Great Wig! I decided that he probably never looked better than he did in 1993 (age 32) in this movie (with an expensive wig).
I hope the gang at Rifftrax record a riff on this movie. It's unlikely they'll dig back into the vault, but this movie is full of dramatic pauses. It's ripe!

December 9, 1993

Wayne's World 2 (sneak preview)

Del Preston: Alright, ladies and gentlemen. It takes two people to run a concert: one back stage, and one out front. One man alone cannot do this. Wayne, you will run the backstage team. Milton, you are my liaison between Wayne's backstage team and Garth's front-stage team which includes myself in the booth. To the left and right of the stage are machine-gun pillboxes, M-60 Browning. Now these babies tend to heat up so shoot in 3 second bursts. In the event of capture I will personally distribute these cyanide capsules to be placed under the tongue like so [places a capsule in his mouth]. Any questions?
Garth: Yes, I have a question. When did you turn into a nutbar?
(Circle Cinema, Chestnut Hill)